Even as Governor Christie’s Exxon giveaway is being scrutinized during a 60-day public comment period, there’s another potential taxpayer cleanup liability looming.
The Exxon sites are not alone, nor are they the most complex cleanup tasks facing New Jersey.
The Oyster Creek nuclear plant in Lacey Township is scheduled to close in 2019. It will leave behind the detritus of spent nuclear fuel, contaminated ground soil, and other residual chemical pollution that will plague the Ocean County town for years to come, even with the best-financed and well-executed planning.
Christie’s currently-proposed Exxon settlement for a small fraction of the cleanup costs makes sense when viewed through his lens of presidential ambition. Any amount of settlement money that goes to the general fund, no matter how small, helps Christie in his claim that he is balancing the budget. This is not his first one-shot gimmick that he will be using toward this end, and probably not the last. The real cost of the Exxon cleanup will come years after Christie is out of office and will be left to future taxpayers.